Journal scribblings: Crimson Peak (2015)

It starts holding onto things…keeping them alive when they shouldn’t be

It must be fun shooting a horror or thriller film. You get to run around, acting completely insane, screaming your head off in a way you haven’t since playing hide and seek as a kid. Or (while she speaks of Crimson Peak and her character of Lucille being a depressing shoot), at least that’s the impression I get from Jessica Chastain’s performances in the Guillermo del Toro-produced Mama, and now in the del Toro-directed Crimson Peak. One of the most secretive films of the year, Crimson Peak ends up being an old-school thriller of the supernatural that wouldn’t be out of place in studio’s output from the 1940s or 50s that is campy and fun, but also somewhat muddled in its madness. It sadly holds the cards too close to its chest for too long, becoming laboured and boring in the first half, and then speeding up, only to feel unnaturally rushed. But through the downright strange moments, Chastain is arguably the best part of the whole show. Wasikowska, while good, is too reserved to make much of an impression. Chastain, however, donning a British accent and turning up the vampy villain straight from the 40s, dives feet-first into the madness with reckless abandon, knowing that subtlety and silence here leads to one melting into the background. For the record, she wins, adding another fabulous performance to her dance card this year, again demonstrating the chops she brought out in the gloriously fun Mama, truly proving that she can do anything.

Rating: 3/5


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